Careers as a Medical Spa Therapist and Esthetician | Bryan College (2023)

You’ve decided to enter the medical spa career. As you’ve researched colleges and universities to further your education, you’ve come across job titles such as medical spa therapist vs. esthetician. Are these roles interchangeable or are they referring to different jobs?

Medical spa therapists and estheticians may perform some of the same job duties; however, medical spa therapists have additional training that allows them to broaden the scope of their duties.

This article will go into detail about what medical spa therapists and estheticians do on a daily basis. It’s our goal to guide you in making a career decision, so keep reading!

What Is a Medical Spa Therapist?

Medical spa therapists are also known as medical estheticians. This job is usually a bit different and more advanced from the role of general esthetician usually due to the additional training that an aspiring medical spa professional will undergo.

On the cosmetic side, medical spa therapists will provide aesthetic, nonsurgical treatments. If they’re employed by a rehabilitation center or hospital, then a medical spa therapist may also treat patients who have recently recovered from an illness or trauma.

Here are example services a medical spa therapist might provide:

Cauterizing Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a superficial type of visible vein caused by elevated blood pressure. These veins can make many people self-conscious since they’re very noticeable. A medical spa therapist will cauterize the veins, usually in the legs, using various laser technologies.

Cauterizing varicose veins can reduce accompanying symptoms such as swelling and pain.

Advanced Hair Removal

Tweezing and shaving hair only remove it short-term. For more permanent hair removal, a medical spa therapist will use an advanced treatment such as laser hair removal or intense pulsed light.

Tattoo Removal

Although tattoos are permanent, a person’s sentiments for them might not be. When selecting a facility for tattoo removal, it’s best to go with the pros, which is why med spa therapists frequently use laser treatments to fade tattoos.

(Video) Aesthetician vs Esthetician | Explained

Sun Damage Treatment

The sun can cause long-term damage to one’s skin. Medical spa therapists will assess the patient’s skin and decide the best treatment option for sun damage, such as tretinoin, intense pulsed light, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and/or laser skin resurfacing.

Pre-Op and Post-Op Surgical Skincare

When a patient receives surgery for abrasions, burns, or other skin trauma, they need a professional to tend to them before the procedure. This is a specialty of medical estheticians. In addition, medical spa therapists can also care for a patient’s usually tender and sensitive skin after surgery.

Permanent Makeup

Medical estheticians can also perform permanent makeup procedures that add pigment to the eyebrows, eyes, lips and other areas of the face. Microblading, although not always permanent, is included under the umbrella of permanent makeup as well.

What Is an Esthetician?

Next, let’s talk about estheticians. This job role encompasses more basic skincare services compared to a medical esthetician or medical spa therapist. Some of those services can overlap with the ones above, as we touched on in the intro. For instance, an esthetician might administer permanent makeup if they’re trained in that area.

Estheticians don’t usually undergo the advanced training of medical estheticians, which limits the scope of the work they do.

Let’s present a detailed overview of some of the duties working as an esthetician may entail.

Eyelash Extensions

For longer-lasting eyelashes than a set of falsies can provide, patients may visit a medical spa for an eyelash extension. An esthetician will apply the lashes–which are usually made of synthetic material–to the eyes with semi-permanent glue.

The eyelashes are chosen according to the patient’s current eyelash curvature, color, and thickness. Since the glue is only semi-permanent, an eyelash extension treatment may require touching up from time to time by the esthetician.

(Video) Esthetician Day In The Life 2022 | I got a job at a med spa & I got promoted 💕


For touchable soft and smooth skin, waxing is a popular hair removal method. This isn’t considered advanced hair removal as waxing involves no lasers.

The results are not as permanent, so a patient who receives a wax from an esthetician might return to the medi-spa regularly for maintenance.

Spray Tanning

A golden tan improves the visage of just about anyone, but spending hours burning in the sun can be detrimental to the skin. Spray tanning can produce a lovely tan without sunburn. Estheticians will ensure the patient receives an even application of the spray tan so they look great at every angle.

Body Wraps

Body masks or body wraps are a spa treatment where the esthetician will apply a nourishing formula to the skin. Then they’ll cover the patient in plastic film, mylar bandages, or cotton to seal in the moisture of the oil and allow the minerals to penetrate the skin.


Microdermabrasion can reduce the appearance of melasma, acne scars, age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. The treatment does not involve needles like Botox does, making it appealing to the needle-phobic.

Hot Stone Therapy

Estheticians can also provide hot stone therapy or hot stone massages. The esthetician will place heated stones across a patient’s body to alleviate pain. Damaged soft tissue can be eased.


One of the most popular med spa treatments by far is the facial. The esthetician will select a facial that matches the patient’s skin needs, be that a face peel, a face mask, or exfoliation. Facials can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles, lessen acne, and open pores.

What Are the Differences Between a Medical Spa Therapist and Esthetician?

Now that we’ve introduced the job roles of medical esthetician and regular esthetician, let’s cover the differences between these two jobs.

(Video) What To Expect During Your Medical Esthetician's Training

Job Scope

The clearest way to differentiate medical spa therapists and estheticians is this. If the job responsibility falls into the category of cosmetics, then either a medical esthetician or a regular esthetician can do it.

For those job roles that skew more medical, then medical spa therapists can administer these treatments, at least usually. Exceptions include dermal fills and Botox, which only doctors or nurses are allowed to provide.

The job scope of a medical spa therapist is thus greater than an esthetician, to reiterate.

Education and Training

The extent of a medical esthetician’s education and training usually outpaces that of a regular esthetician. While it may vary by area, the general number of hours an aspiring esthetician is required to spend in an advanced medical spa program is 600 hours.

Esthetician students will learn techniques for specific treatments such as hair removal, facial cleansing, skin disorder treatments, and more. Related topics such as salon management will also be covered during the 600 hours of training.

It’s not all book learning, of course. Soon-to-be aestheticians will get to administer the treatments they've become educated in, usually to patients at a student clinic.

An esthetician usually will apply for licensure. Since medical spa therapists have no specific licensure differentiating them from general estheticians, they should still apply for their license and then potentially obtain certifications to expand the range of services they can offer.

Place of Work

Where a medical spa therapist vs. esthetician works can be the same but isn’t exclusively. As we’ve detailed, medical spas are a popular place for medical estheticians and regular estheticians alike.

(Video) Becoming A Medical Aesthetician

Cruise ships, salons, skincare clinics, and dermatologist’s offices also welcome these specialists.

Given the advanced expertise of a medical spa therapist, they may be employed at other types of businesses like doctor’s offices, rehabilitation clinics, laser care facilities, and plastic surgeon offices.

Career Paths

For many, working as an esthetician is a dream job, especially if you’re passionate about improving the health and confidence of others. If you’re interested in ascending the career ladder beyond the role of esthetician though, many exciting opportunities await you as a medical spa therapist.

General estheticians can hone in on their schooling to become medical spa therapists. They can also take their beauty knowledge and apply it to a non-spa role such as a beauty educator.

For those who are ready to exit the salon entirely, working as an esthetician trainer could be just the job you’ve been looking for. You’ll be employed at a training facility such as an esthetician college and share your wealth of skills with others entering the same career field.

Where to Enroll to Become a Medical Spa Therapist or Esthetician

Whether you want to become a general esthetician or medical spa therapist, you must enroll in an educational program for training. At Bryan College, our can propel your education and your career.

Our students become specialists in a variety of treatments, including vein removal, skin tightening, body contouring, relaxation massage, body scrubs, aromatherapy, laser therapy, photo facials, and more.

Your time at Bryan College will include hands-on training at our Professional Medical Spa Clinic, a student clinic that’s available to the public.

(Video) How to become a Medical Aesthetician right out of esthetics school! | Emma Elyse

You’ll also train in and use equipment that estheticians rely on every single day, including St. Peel microdermabrasion technology, Starlight laser equipment, and lots more.

Don’t wait - start the path to your dream job today!


What is the highest paid medical estheticians? ›

The best Esthetician jobs can pay up to $109,000 per year.

Some estheticians, called medical estheticians or paramedical estheticians, work in medical clinics. Estheticians must have a license to practice in nearly all states.

Is becoming an Aesthetician worth it? ›

Yes, an esthetician career is worth it.

Working as an esthetician provides you with the opportunity to specialize in many different services, such as lashes or skin waxing. As an esthetician, you can work for a salon, cruise ship, or hotel spa, or you can freelance.

Which of the following are careers that estheticians could go into? ›

  • Barbering.
  • Beauty Tips.
  • Cosmetology.
  • Esthetics and Skincare.
  • Hair.
  • Makeup.
  • Nail Technician.
  • Social Media.

What can estheticians do to make more money? ›

How can estheticians increase their salary? Estheticians can increase their salary by pursuing additional certifications or a master esthetician license. This license qualifies estheticians to work in places that focus more on the medical aspects of skincare than cosmetics.

What is the highest degree in esthetician? ›

The National Esthetician Certification–NCEA Certified credential is the highest standard set by the National Coalition of Estheticians Associations (NCEA) for Estheticians in the United States.

Can an esthetician be a millionaire? ›

Estheticians are millionaires waiting to happen. Each and every esthetician has the capability of becoming a millionaire through various business opportunities. This book, "How to Make a Million Dollars as an Esthetician" depicts the opportunities available to estheticians that compliment their core business services.

What are the disadvantages of being an esthetician? ›

Cons of Being an Esthetician
  • Numerous skin care establishments can increase your competition, driving away prospective clients.
  • Economic downturn can drastically affect whether or not people are willing to spend money they don't have on their personal indulgences.
  • You may be required to bring in your own clientele.

Can you be successful as an esthetician? ›

While enrolling and excelling in esthetician programs is a good way to begin the path towards a future career, there's also a great deal of talent, skill development, and dedication that's required to truly become successful as an esthetician.

Why do people love being an esthetician? ›

Some want to help clients look their best for special events, while others have an interest in the medical aspect of skin care. Other estheticians enjoy working with people daily, including clients and other health care professionals.

What is the future of estheticians? ›

Employment of skincare specialists is projected to grow 17 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 13,500 openings for skincare specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Where do most estheticians work? ›

Where Can You Work as an Esthetician?
  • Salon. Just like with cosmetologists, estheticians can be incredibly valuable to salons. ...
  • Day Spa. ...
  • Medical Spa. ...
  • Dermatology Clinic. ...
  • Remote Work. ...
  • Conclusion.
Apr 25, 2020

What is the difference between aesthetics and esthetics? ›

Many individuals are confused about the distinction between Aesthetics and Esthetics. The only difference between these two terms is that they are spelled differently. People in European and Commonwealth countries use the term aesthetics. Americans, on the other hand, commonly use the term esthetic.

How do estheticians make 6 figures? ›

When it comes to making the most as an esthetician, the more services you specialize in, the better. Services such as eyelashes, microblading, and waxing can help your earnings significantly. It also helps to do research on trending services that are in demand, bringing in more business.

Can you make $100 K as an esthetician? ›

At the national average of $112 dollars an hour for treatment time, an esthetician only has to book 19 hours of client service per week to make over $100,000 a year. That weekly goal even factors in 3 weeks of vacation yearly.

Can an esthetician sell skin better? ›

skinbetter products are available only through authorized physicians.

What is the best certification for esthetician? ›

NCEA certification represents the highest skin care credential in the U.S. Being NCEA certified helps prepare you for state esthetician licensing because the program includes the required course hours. All U.S. states and many areas of Canada require that estheticians have either a basic license or master license.

How long are most esthetician programs? ›

The good news is becoming an esthetician can take only six to nine months! Depending on the school and program, that equates to a 600 to 780 clock-hour program. By enrolling and fulfilling the program requirements, you have a chance to earn a diploma and would be eligible to sit for an esthetician exam.

What is the job description of an esthetician? ›

An esthetician is a person who specializes in the beautification of skin. Estheticians are not medical healthcare providers; instead, they perform cosmetic treatments such as facials, superficial chemical peels and waxing to enhance a client's natural beauty.

Do estheticians pop pimples? ›

Estheticians can do extractions.

Extracting, or cleaning out, non-inflamed pore blockages will help your skin feel smoother and can help stop inflamed pimples from forming. 2 She won't be able to treat any inflamed pores, just as you shouldn't squeeze inflamed pimples at home.

Can I transfer my Florida esthetician license to Georgia? ›

Reciprocity: If you already have a license from another state or country with comparable licensing requirements to the state of Georgia, or from a state that also grants reciprocity to the state of Georgia, you may be approved for a reciprocal Georgia cosmetology license.

What is the lifespan of an esthetician? ›

While esthetics is a growing industry, the average career lifespan of an esthetician is typically only three years, according to celebrity esthetician JoElle Lee during her keynote address “5 Tools Every Esthetician Must Have to be Successful” at Skin Inc.'s Face & Body Southeast spa conference and expo.

Why is there such a demand for medical estheticians? ›

So why are estheticians in such high demand? In short, the population is aging — in less than 20 years, older adults will have children outnumbered for the first time in U.S. history, according to the Census Bureau — but Americans don't want the effects of aging to show on their faces.

Do estheticians have back problems? ›

it is not surprising that, after many years of working in the industry, an esthetician may develop poor posture without even realizing it. this constant stress placed on the neck, shoulders and lower back eventually can take a huge toll that results in severe discomfort and pain.

Where are the highest paid estheticians? ›

16 highest-paid cities for estheticians
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...
  • Denver, Colorado. ...
  • New York, New York. ...
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ...
  • Austin, Texas. ...
  • Boston, Massachusetts. Average salary: $52,118 per year. ...
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Average salary: $52,290 per year. ...
  • Phoenix, Arizona. Average salary: $52,584 per year.
Mar 10, 2023

What every esthetician should know? ›

10 Things Every Esthetician (and Skincare Nerd) Should Know
  • Creating inflammation is never a rejuvenating event.
  • Look at all "skin events" through the filter that the skin always knows what it is doing.
  • Everything that goes wrong with the skin is caused by toxins, pathogens, or emotions.
Aug 17, 2021

How do I sell myself as an esthetician? ›

7 Excellent Esthetician Marketing Ideas to Drive More Clients to your Salon
  1. Show off your branding – the impressive way. ...
  2. Maximize your community outreach. ...
  3. Ask for referrals. ...
  4. Reward clients with loyalty cards. ...
  5. Get listed on Google and other popular directories. ...
  6. Run your own social media marketing campaign.
Feb 17, 2022

What type of personality does an esthetician have? ›

Aestheticians tend to be predominantly enterprising individuals, which means that they are usually quite natural leaders who thrive at influencing and persuading others. They also tend to be social, meaning that they thrive in situations where they can interact with, persuade, or help people.

How can an esthetician be more confident? ›

How to be confident as an esthetician + develop long lasting relationships with your clients.
  1. Set boundaries and keep them. Even though you are friendly that doesn't mean you let them slide when cancel the same day or stroll in 25 mins late. ...
  2. RESPECT their time. ...
  3. Have fun!
May 27, 2022

Do estheticians learn about skincare? ›

You'll learn how to treat skin conditions, apply facials, apply makeup, and perform hair removal, among many other techniques and services.

How many clients do estheticians see a day? ›

With that in mind and factoring in your break times you should be able to see a maximum of 7 people per day (in a regular work day). The more time you commit to your clients, the more you can see.

When did estheticians become a thing? ›

Esthetics can be traced back as early as Greek and Egyptian times, when they used cosmetics for: Personal beautification. Religious ceremonies. Preparing their deceased for burial.

What is the future of cosmetology? ›

Job Outlook

Overall employment of barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. About 93,800 openings for barbers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

What state has the most hours as an esthetician? ›

New York: 600 hours.

Are estheticians commonly employed in hotels? ›

Estheticians are commonly employed in hotels. State board members are responsible for examinations, licensing, and standards. Before you become an esthetics educator, you must obtain a doctorate degree.

What is the most common type of employment new estheticians seek? ›

What is the most common type of employment new esthetician seek? All service spas. What are the three most common services offered by permanent makeup artists? Eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip liner.

What are the 3 types of aesthetics? ›

The word originally applied to art movements, where three significant types of aesthetics are usually recognized in art criticism and they are imitational, formalism, and emotionalism.

What is poor esthetics? ›

From clothes to housing, the “poor aesthetic” is one with the characteristics of something old and/or something used.

What level is aesthetics? ›

The Level 7 Aesthetic Medicine Diploma is suitable for all medically registered professionals including: Doctors, Dentists, Independent Nurse or Midwife Prescribers, Nurse Practitioners (without independent prescribing rights) or Midwives (without independent prescribing rights).

How much does an esthetician make in Texas? ›

Licensed Esthetician Salary in Texas
Annual SalaryMonthly Pay
Top Earners$63,758$5,313
75th Percentile$43,531$3,627
25th Percentile$27,702$2,308

How much does a 6 figure earner make? ›

A six figure salary, meaning one between $100,000 and $999,999, is a benchmark for many people who want to meet financial goals. Having a good education is usually helpful but not always necessary, and certain jobs are more likely to come with six figure salaries.

How much does it cost to go to medical esthetician school? ›

Esthetician or cosmetology school tuition can range depending on programs but typically can cost between $3,000 and $10,000.

How much do makeup artists make? ›

How much do makeup artists make? When looking at the national average salary for a position, it is important to consider both the average salary and salary range. The national average salary for a makeup artist in the United States is $31.44 per hour with a salary range between $7.25 and $94.45 per hour.

What are the disadvantages of a esthetician? ›

Cons of Being an Esthetician
  • Numerous skin care establishments can increase your competition, driving away prospective clients.
  • Economic downturn can drastically affect whether or not people are willing to spend money they don't have on their personal indulgences.
  • You may be required to bring in your own clientele.

How do you know if being an esthetician is right for you? ›

If you're looking for a new career, here are six signs a career as an esthetician may be right for you.
  • You Can Be Part of an Industry That's Growing. ...
  • You Love To Help Others. ...
  • You're Passionate About Skincare. ...
  • You Want a Hands-on Career. ...
  • You Care About the Environment. ...
  • You Have a Variety of Career Options.

What is the highest paying non surgical medical specialty? ›

Highest Paying Medical Specialties
  • Cardiology (non-invasive): $447,143.
  • Gastroenterology: $441,421.
  • Urology: $424,091.
  • Hematology/Oncology: $396,000.
  • Dermatology: $370,952.
  • Radiology: $368,250.
  • Pulmonology: $351,125.
  • General Surgery: $336,375.
May 13, 2021

What is the highest paid medical specialty? ›

Neurosurgeons are the highest paid physician specialists, earning an average of $788,313 annually, according to Doximity's "2023 Physician Compensation Report." The results were drawn from survey responses from 190,000 physicians over the last six years, including 31,000 in 2022.

How much does a medical esthetician get paid MD? ›

How much does a Medical Esthetician make in Maryland? The average Medical Esthetician salary in Maryland is $53,037 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $47,890 and $60,887.

How much does a medical esthetician make in North Carolina? ›

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $56,833 and as low as $18,558, the majority of Medical Esthetician salaries currently range between $25,517 (25th percentile) to $34,023 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $40,595 annually in North Carolina.

What is the #1 best healthcare job? ›

According to U.S. News, the 10 best jobs in healthcare for 2023 are:
  • Nurse practitioner.
  • Physician assistant.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Dentist.
  • Veterinarian.
  • Physician.
  • Orthodontist.
  • Registered nurse.
Jan 12, 2023

What medical field makes the least money? ›

Specialities with the lowest compensation:
  • Pediatric endocrinology — $218,266.
  • Pediatric infectious disease — $221,126.
  • Pediatric rheumatology — $226,186.
  • Pediatric hematology and oncology — $237,005.
  • Pediatric nephrology — $238,208.
  • Pediatrics — $242,832.
  • Medical genetics — $244,107.
  • Pediatric pulmonology — $263,742.
Mar 23, 2023

What is the lowest paying job in the medical field? ›

What Are the Lowest Paying Medical Careers?
  • Admitting Clerks. Admitting clerks are the front lines of hospitals. ...
  • Activity Aide. An activity aide is kind of like the master of ceremonies at a nursing home. ...
  • Dietary Aides. ...
  • Pharmacy Technician. ...
  • Nursing Aides.
Aug 3, 2020

What is the hardest medical field? ›

Based on our comprehensive analysis, the top most competitive specialties are as follows:
  • Plastic Surgery.
  • ENT.
  • Dermatology.
  • Orthopedic Surgery.
  • Neurosurgery.
  • Thoracic Surgery.
  • Urology.
  • Vascular Surgery.
Sep 11, 2022

What is the highest paid job in the world? ›

So, given below is an updated list of the most paid jobs in the world.
  1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) ...
  2. Medical Professionals. ...
  3. Corporate Lawyer. ...
  4. Investment Banker. ...
  5. Data Scientist. ...
  6. Project Manager. ...
  7. Senior Software Engineer. ...
  8. Web Developers.
May 9, 2023

Who is the richest Doctor in the world? ›

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

How much does it cost to become an esthetician MD? ›

School and Program Detail
Program Name:600 Hour Skin Care and Make Up Artistry
Training Type:Makeup/Skin Care
Occupation CIP Type:120409-Aesthetician/Esthetician and Skin Care Specialist
Clock Hours:600
Tuition:$7,900.00 Other Costs/Fees: Total Cost: $7,900.00
3 more rows

What is the highest paid MD degree? ›

What are the highest-paying doctor jobs? Neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, and general surgeons are the highest-paid doctors. According to Payscale, neurosurgeons earned an average annual salary of $421,000 as of March 2023. Anesthesiologists made an average of $322,980, while general surgeons earned $296,000.

What do Aestheticians do? ›

An esthetician provides services focused on skin care including, but not limited to, skin treatments, facials, makeup application and hair removal. However, their jobs can be so much more! If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of being an esthetician, read more below.

How long is esthetician school in NC? ›

How long does it take to complete esthetician school in North Carolina? A licensed esthetician program must consist of 600 hours. Five to eight months is the average length of time it takes to complete a 600-hour program.

How much do medical estheticians get paid in Raleigh NC? ›

The average Medical Esthetician salary in Raleigh, NC is $50,138 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $45,272 and $57,559.


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